Von Bartha presents an ambitious new exhibition by British artists John Wood and Paul Harrison, displaying the full range of their current practice; video, photography, drawing, and sculpture, in a unique maze-like setting of their own design.
By transforming the gallery’s large 850m² open plan space into a labyrinthine network of rooms, Wood and Harrison invite viewers into their idiosyncratic, sometimes absurdist, world. The walls, constructed from cardboard with over-sized or miniature doors, echo the stage sets in their films and nod towards one of their newer pieces A Film About a City (2015), a large wooden architectural model of a dysfunctional cityscape. Works featuring everyday objects, such as Bench for Looking Up (2015), reference objects from within video works featured in other sections of the exhibition. Elsewhere, the sounds and visuals of films bleed into one another, both deliberately referencing and complementing the other.
Though working across a number of mediums, Wood and Harrison’s works all share a common thread – that of everyday objects or experiences being subverted. The artists’ video works, for which they were initially known, tend to be set in neutral surroundings with a straightforward, do-it-yourself aesthetic. In Semi Automatic Painting Machine (2014) a series of objects (a clock, a rubber plant, a toy airplane) are left at the mercy of a spray paint gun. The artists make visual jokes that gravitate around ideas of transformation and camouflage – with a lick of paint a black bike becomes a white bike; a sniper in military camouflage has his position exposed with a splattering of bright pink paint.